Cerbera venenifera (Poir.) Steud.
Common Name: Sea Mango
Sea mango varies in size from a shrub to a small or medium-sized tree that can grow up to 25 metres tall. The bole can be up to 70cm in diameter[
The plant is used locally as a herbal medicine, being mainly harvested from the wild[
]. The medicinal products are sometimes sold in local markets[
]. A very ornamental tree, with beautiful, aromatic flowers that can be produced all year round, and interesting fruits that are used in flower displays, it is sometimes grown in gardens[
The fruit, and especially the seed, are very poisonous and contain hydrocyanic acid and the cardiac glycosides thevetin and cerberin[
]. The toxins are said to be particularly harmful to dogs[
East Africa, through the Indian Ocean Islands, tropical Asia to Australia and the Pacific Islands.
Humid evergreen forest along the coast as well as in dry deciduous forest inland up to elevations of 150 metres in Madagascar[
]. Seashore and tidal river banks in southern China[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
A plant of the lowland tropics.
Plants should preferably be grown in full light in a fertile, moist but well-drained loam with additional leaf mould[
]. Often growing along the beach in the wild, this species should be resistant to maritime winds[
A white latex exudes from all plant parts[
Small amounts of the timber are exported from Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands to Japan[
The seeds are used in traditional medicine to treat cardiac disorders[
]. However they are very poisonous and were used until the middle of the 19th century as an ordeal poison[
Externally, the seeds are used to treat scabies and itch; and to prepare a hair tonic[
The bark is used as a laxative and antipyretic and in the treatment of dysuria and ringworm[
A decoction of the inner bark is drunk with cold water as an abortifacient[
The flowers to treat haemorrhoids[
The roots, bark, latex, and leaves are sometimes used as an emetic and a purgative[
All parts of the plant contain glycosides that are derived from cardenolides[
]. Some of these have shown antiproliferative activity against human colon cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer and epidermoid carcinoma cell lines, as well as anti-oestrogenic activity.
One of the alkaloids, cerberin, acts on plain muscle preparations as a definite stimulant both with regard to tone and peristaltic movements. As such it behaves as a parasympatomimetic poison. It acts on both the rhythm and amplitude of the heart. In moderate doses cerberin has positive inotropic properties, but in high, toxic doses it produces a negative inotropic and chronotropic effect[
]. Ethanolic extracts of Cerbera manghas have shown selective activity against vesicular stomatis virus (VSV). Olivil, carinol and cycloolivil showed antioxidant activities[
An oil is obtained from the seed[
The wood is lightweight to medium-weight, with the white to pale yellow-brown heartwood not demarcated from the sapwood[
]. The grain is straight to slightly interlocked, texture fine and uneven. The shrinkage upon seasoning is moderate, and the wood works easily. It is not durable, highly susceptible to blue-staining fungi, and resistant to preservative treatment under pressure[
]. Trees seldom grow to timber size, but the wood is useful for the production of veneer[
The wood is occasionally used in tropical Asia for mouldings, interior trim, fruit cases, core veneer, matches, shuttering, clogs, plain furniture and carving, and also for charcoal[
The wood is used for fine charcoal[
Seed - germination is erratic[
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